tv America Tonight Al Jazeera April 3, 2016 12:30am-1:01am EDT
bigger platform >> reporter: in other words, today here; tomorrow may be the world a quick reminder, you can keep up-to-date with all the news on our website. there it is on your screen. the address aljazeera.com >> thanks for joining us on "america tonight." i'm joie chen. this week we marked international women's day when we commemorate the achievements of women. but there are still great challenges for them, too, like limited opportunity, inequity and gender-based violence.
>> the strengths of sheroes. next here we meet a woman on a long road to making a difference. >> people loved him. teachers loved him. >> we were walking the river looking for him. i knew something was really really wrong. >> all hell broke lose. >> people were saying that we were terrorists. >> how are you providing a cover for your brother to do this? >> we saw the evil side of the social media take off.
path. homelessness,s almost seen as an unfixable problem. but brian locman traveled route 66 into northern arizona, to find a woman whose strength is creating home. >> one night it was march march 12, 2014, 3:36 in the morning. i woke up with a strong voice in my head who said you need to take over distressed motels and turn them into transitional housing. really? what do i do with that. i wasn't looking to do that. that morning i got up and started making phone calls. i wrote the business plan. i found a motel, and a year later we opened up. my name is laurie barlow, and i'm the founder and executive director of a new living. i think we have a solution. we have our emergency family room.
we took over the motel, the entire property, and we turned it into a transitional housing facility. >> motel 66 off route 66, you can't get it better than that. >> i know it, i know it. >> it's for homeless individuals who are working or has a fixed income, the goal is to then transition into permanent housing and stay there. the mix of residents we have here is very diverse. from veterans to single moms to married couples to younger adults in their 20s that ar are recovering from substance or alcohol abuse. there is not just one group of people that are experiencing this issue. we accept them all to come here. >> we've been here for over a year. the rent is cheaper than what you would find nowhere where we
could stay. we are allowed to go to school, have a job, pay that and move forward. we've seen a lot of stuff, stupid stuff we used to drink excessively. >> we would stay at the shelter, thenbled get fed up and take off for a week or two at a time and post up in places like this. the woods here under bridges and different places. that's one choice. that has the most alcohol content. we slept her numerous nights. we made our life here. we slept in this tube. we slept in this gully. slept over here. but it's a drainage area. but it's close proximity to a store that we could get our alcohol at and try to get something to eat once in a while.
we're able to cook, shower every day and have a save place. it's different from where we're living now. we've come a long way. >> monthly rent is $600 for a single room. that's compared to if you were staying at a motel room in the area, the cheapest is over $1,000. for $600 may seem high that's all utilities included. it may be higher than they would like but if they can't afford the $600 a month, they're probably never going to be able to afford subsidize permanent housing even on a subsidized level. >> i live here with my son. it's difficult. it's very difficult. we changed our standard of living quite a bit. >> making a boundaries for a teenager. >> it's difficult for the
teenager because of lack of space and boundaries, harder with a smaller brother around. we don't get the privacy, but we're grateful for what we do have. we utilize the microwave. we learned to cook out of a microwave instead of a stove and we go down to the sunshine rescue mission. they have help a great deal. my husband left me. he left me in the hospital when the baby was born, and never picked us up. six weeks later i was laid off from teaching. we had this house paid for. this is where we've ended up. we've fallen through the cracks completely. i miss our home, space, my children had beautiful rooms, their own rooms. >> the biggest challenge especially when we first took over is create a safe environment for everyone.
we're right on route 66. and this motel before we took over had a lot of drug and alcohol activity here. one of the families that was living here, they had a six-year-old daughter, they were in this room that we're in now, and one night a gentleman came to this back window and just crawled in through the window looking for his drug dealer and stepped on their six-year-old's bed. of course, they chased him out and that was really scary for them. >> the residents now, they're their own neighborhood watch. that's where the sense of community and building a community was really important. >> i'm out doing our dishes. we don't have the sinks to do them in. so i do them in the bathtub with tubs. >> if it wasn't for laurie and this program, we would be out in the streets. we wouldn't have a roof over our heads.
i'm bipolar. i've got ptsd. and i had to go out and panhandle just to survive. >> in the past motel rooms we didn't have no stove. >> i served my country, and my son gave his life for this country, and yes, it was embarrassing me for me to go out there and ask for help. i was working a part time job, but with my health and stuff, i'm not able to do that now. i do a little painting here and there to help with the rent. my girlfriend works hard. she works five days a week at denny's as a server. we scrape by, but we get by now. it's a lot better now. i have my good days and my bad days. but just knowing we have a place
over our heads we don't have to worry about being homeless, and we have food in the refrigerator, it's a big relief for me. >> to the normal person it might not look like much, but it's home for us. >> they all have a different story. they have a commonnalty where they're working homeless. they all have different reasons of how they got there, and what their background is. they are all just looking for a better life. >> from a strong woman leading the way on route 66, we head next to meet a young woman who has learned to travel her own distinctive path.
only on al jazeera america. >> our look at women leading the way and cutting their own path takes us to southeastern wisconsin where lisa fletcher met a young woman who is defying the limits imposed on her body to become the most popular girl at school. >> ari, ari is a celebrity. >> she is extremely smart, over all she's just a very sweet little girl. >> aria martin is in the first grade. but as her dad helps her get
ready for school. >> are your glasses on? >> yeah. >> things are noticebly different. >> i'm so pumped up. >> all right. >> here we go. >> whew. >> ari has what is called sma. spinal muscular atrophy. it's a disease linked in with muscular dystrophy. basically her muscles will get weaker as time goes on. >> time is up. >> up, up, up. >> unfortunately, she can't sit up. she can't walk. she can't crawl. even breathing problems. she has a hard time breathing. sa